4.5.4 The blockquote element

Flow content.
Sectioning root.
Palpable content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where flow content is expected.
Content model:
Flow content.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
interface HTMLQuoteElement : HTMLElement {
           attribute DOMString cite;

The HTMLQuoteElement interface is also used by the q element.

The blockquote element represents a section that is quoted from another source.

Content inside a blockquote must be quoted from another source, whose address, if it has one, may be cited in the cite attribute.

If the cite attribute is present, it must be a valid URL potentially surrounded by spaces. To obtain the corresponding citation link, the value of the attribute must be resolved relative to the element. User agents should allow users to follow such citation links.

The content of a blockquote may be abbreviated or may have context added in the conventional manner for the text's language.

For example, in English this is traditionally done using square brackets. Consider a page with the sentence "Fred ate the cracker. He then said he liked apples and fish."; it could be quoted as follows:

 <p>[Fred] then said he liked [...] fish.</p>

Attribution for the quotation, if any, must be placed outside the blockquote element.

For example, here the attribution is given in a paragraph after the quote:

 <p>I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer
 god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other
 possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.</p>
<p>— Stephen Roberts</p>

The other examples below show other ways of showing attribution.

The cite IDL attribute must reflect the element's cite content attribute.

Here a blockquote element is used in conjunction with a figure element and its figcaption to clearly relate a quote to its attribution (which is not part of the quote and therefore doesn't belong inside the blockquote itself):

  <p>The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with.
  It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held
  prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to
  be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true. We have a
  method, and that method helps us to reach not absolute truth, only
  asymptotic approaches to the truth — never there, just closer
  and closer, always finding vast new oceans of undiscovered
  possibilities. Cleverly designed experiments are the key.</p>
 <figcaption>Carl Sagan, in "<cite>Wonder and Skepticism</cite>", from
 the <cite>Skeptical Enquirer</cite> Volume 19, Issue 1 (January-February

This next example shows the use of cite alongside blockquote:

<p>His next piece was the aptly named <cite>Sonnet 130</cite>:</p>
<blockquote cite="http://quotes.example.org/s/sonnet130.html">
  <p>My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun,<br>
  Coral is far more red, than her lips red,<br>

This example shows how a forum post could use blockquote to show what post a user is replying to. The article element is used for each post, to mark up the threading.

 <h1><a href="http://bacon.example.com/?blog=109431">Bacon on a crowbar</a></h1>
  <header><strong>t3yw</strong> 12 points 1 hour ago</header>
  <p>I bet a narwhal would love that.</p>
  <footer><a href="?pid=29578">permalink</a></footer>
   <header><strong>greg</strong> 8 points 1 hour ago</header>
   <blockquote><p>I bet a narwhal would love that.</p></blockquote>
   <p>Dude narwhals don't eat bacon.</p>
   <footer><a href="?pid=29579">permalink</a></footer>
    <header><strong>t3yw</strong> 15 points 1 hour ago</header>
     <blockquote><p>I bet a narwhal would love that.</p></blockquote>
     <p>Dude narwhals don't eat bacon.</p>
    <p>Next thing you'll be saying they don't get capes and wizard
    hats either!</p>
    <footer><a href="?pid=29580">permalink</a></footer>
      <header><strong>boing</strong> -5 points 1 hour ago</header>
      <p>narwhals are worse than ceiling cat</p>
      <footer><a href="?pid=29581">permalink</a></footer>
   <header><strong>fred</strong> 1 points 23 minutes ago</header>
   <blockquote><p>I bet a narwhal would love that.</p></blockquote>
   <p>I bet they'd love to peel a banana too.</p>
   <footer><a href="?pid=29582">permalink</a></footer>

This example shows the use of a blockquote for short snippets, demonstrating that one does not have to use p elements inside blockquote elements:

<p>He began his list of "lessons" with the following:</p>
<blockquote>One should never assume that his side of 
the issue will be recognized, let alone that it will 
be conceded to have merits.</blockquote>
<p>He continued with a number of similar points, ending with:</p>
<blockquote>Finally, one should be prepared for the threat 
of breakdown in negotiations at any given moment and not 
be cowed by the possiblity.</blockquote>
<p>We shall now discuss these points...

Examples of how to represent a conversation are shown in a later section; it is not appropriate to use the cite and blockquote elements for this purpose.